YouTube tests hiding comments by default

Josh Hall's picture

YouTube is testing new functionality for its comment section.

The video streaming platform has hidden comments by default for users of its Android app, in what could be part of an effort to refocus users on content rather than discussion.

Users who are part of the test now have to click a button in order for the comment section to be expanded, requiring an explicit choice in order to see the discussion.

Traditionally, comments are visible by default in the app, placed below YouTube's own video recommendations.

The trial appears to be currently running only in India, as The Verge reports. But there is speculation that it could be rolled out to other territories as the tide of online opinion turns against largely unmoderated comment sections.

The move could also encourage viewers to spend more time engaging with creators' content on the platform, rather than being distracted by arguments 'below the line' - which are much more difficult for YouTube to monetise.

When asked if the platform intends to roll the changes out more widely, a YouTube spokesperson told The Verge: "We’re always experimenting with ways to help people more easily find, watch, share and interact with the videos that matter most to them.

"We are testing a few different options on how to display comments on the watch page. This is one of many small experiments we run all the time on YouTube, and we’ll consider rolling features out more broadly based on feedback on these experiments."

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